8 brilliant things remembered from Sally Line’s Ramsgate ferry service

By Graham Smith via Wikimedia

Thanet council’s latest bid to bring ferries back to Ramsgate Port  made us at The Isle of Thanet News all nostalgic over the days of the Sally Line ferries – which was, in a way, the successor to Hoverlloyd services which ran from 1966 to 1982.

Sally Line ferries was founded in 1981 and operated between Ramsgate and Dunkerque. Between 1993 and 1998 there was also a service to Ostend but this was moved to Dover and the Sally ceased operations in 1998.

Here are 8 great things we remember:

  • Paying a quid for your round trip ticket! The cab to the port cost more than the journey to France and back.
  • Obviously the booze cruise! The days of the duty-free shop and stopping onboard while the ferry was docked in France.
  • The disco, especially the Saturday night one. Throwing shapes on the not very big dance floor under flashing lights!
  • The smorgasbord! Filling up your plate with a mountain of food – whether it actually went together or not and then refilling even though you felt sick and had undone your buttons to let your belly expand.
  • Day passes! Remember travelling without your passport?
  • The foot passenger bus. It was ok getting on to the ferry but a bit of a struggle on the way back when you had drunk your own body-weight in alcohol and were carrying a second body-weight in crate and fag cartons.
  • Creche supervisors and the ball pit for those who took the kids with them. Amusement for hours!
  • And for those not onboard? The sight of the red and white crafts chugging into port.